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Catherine Pilachowski
IU Department of Astronomy

Hal Kibbey
Media Relations

Last modified: Wednesday, December 18, 2002

IU astronomer to attend White House signing of historic NSF Authorization Act

The National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002, passed by both houses of Congress on Nov. 15, authorizes a doubling of the NSF budget over the next five years.

Indiana University Professor Catherine Pilachowski, president of the American Astronomical Society and the Daniel Kirkwood Chair in the IU Department of Astronomy, has been invited by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy to attend the White House ceremony on Thursday (Dec. 19) at 2 p.m. at which President George W. Bush will sign the NSF bill into law.

"I'm honored to be invited to witness the president's signing of this historic bill. Federal support of basic research through the National Science Foundation is a cornerstone of economic development," Pilachowski said.

The bill includes several items that should be of help to the long-term goals of astronomy. In particular, there is a detailed policy change for how the NSF develops large research facility projects. The astronomical community already prioritizes its projects in the manner outlined by the act and also prepares a well-respected report outlining these priorities.

The act also calls for the creation of an Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee, to which Pilachowski has been appointed. This committee, jointly established with NASA, will serve to assess and make recommendations regarding the coordination of astronomy and astrophysics programs between the two agencies. This is an excellent chance to leverage the resources of both agencies to further astronomical research, she said.

In summary, she added, this historic bill will have a positive impact on astronomy and astrophysics research in the coming years.

Pilachowski can be reached at 812-855-6913 or